FC Halifax Town will host Maidenhead in the second round of the FA Trophy on Saturday after beating Macclesfield 1-0.
Matty Kosylo capped a sweeping move with a fine header to send Town through on his first start in over two months.
It was third time lucky in getting the game on and third time lucky for Town against Macclesfield this season. Not that there was little luck required.
Town saved their best performance of the Macclesfield trilogy for the FA Trophy, and were hungrier and half-a-yard quicker than the visitors, although they had to weather a late onslaught as the Silkmen squandered some good chances to equalise.
The game began in stark contrast to the war of attrition that was Maidenhead, with both teams playing neat, constructive football with good movement.
Both had decent chances to open the scoring, Macclesfield through the lively Scott Wilson from Koby Arthur’s excellent through ball, and Town with Tom Denton’s header from Jake Hibbs’ free-kick.
Town have played Macclesfield enough recently to know their tendency to play short, sharp football with good running off the ball, and The Shaymen were wise to it, working hard to close down space and stick to the runners.
The odd through ball still found its way to Wilson, but his odd effort from long-range was of no consequence.
Kosylo’s energy and direct running was a welcome sight from the start, with Macdonald also a threat on the opposite flank; once he got the beating of Macclesfield left-back Mitch Hancox initially, he did so time and again, and was the obvious out-ball for the hosts.
The wide-man was sent through by a superb pass from Hibbs - who arguably had his best game since returning to the first-team picture - but fluffed his lines by mis-kicking the ball at the crucial moment.
But from Hibbs’ next outstanding incisive pass to Macdonald, the winger produced an excellent cross that was met by the onrushing Kosylo, whose bullet header flew past Sam Ramsbottom in the Macclesfield goal. Two months out? It was as if he’d never been away.
This was no repeat of the 4-1 win Macclesfield enjoyed at The Shay last week, with Halifax, disciplined at the back and penetrative going forward, more than a match for the National League leaders, who looked a little caught in the headlights.
Kosylo’s free-kick was tipped over by Ramsbottom shortly after the restart, with Macclesfield still yet to really get going.
They did go close through Wilson and substitute Tyrone Marsh as Town started to sit deeper.
Wilson was denied twice more by the increasingly impressive Sam Johnson before Scott Burgess spurned a great chance to convert Elliott Durrell’s cross from eight yards.
Halifax: Johnson, Moyo (McManus 21), Brown, Garner, Wilde, Macdonald (Hotte 75), Clarke, Collins, Hibbs, Kosylo (Tomlinson 84), Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Oliver.
Scorer: Kosylo (37)
Shots on target: 3
Shots on target: 5
Macclesfield: Ramsbottom, Lowe, Pilkington, Durrell, Wilson, Richards (Marsh 64), Baba (Whitehead 74), Kennedy, Hancox, Burgess, Arthur. Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, Lloyd, Whitaker.
Shots on target: 6
Shots on target: 6
Referee: Paul Marsden
Town man of the match: Jake Hibbs